1 Timothy 6:16

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:16

In the preceding verse, Paul described God as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” It was noted then that this same title is used elsewhere of Jesus, showing that though Man, He is also God. Paul now continues on with His description of God with the words, “who alone has immortality.”

Angels are created beings. Even if they are eternal from their creation, they were created. Men are created and finite in their existence (in the state they are now in). Only God is without beginning or end. He is infinite in His existence and stands apart from His creation. He is self-existent and a Necessary Being (one who cannot “not” exist). He is. It should be noted that Jesus is described elsewhere as immortal. Thus, as there is only one God, He is God; a part of the Godhead which Scripture describes.

Paul notes next that God is “dwelling in an unapproachable light.” The Greek reads, “dwelling in light unapproachable.” Eternity itself is described as light from which proceeds the eternal God. It is as a covering in which He is enveloped, and which no finite being can approach. The reason is that God is infinite. No being in creation can look at the infinite, only whatever portion God has revealed to him. To be able to see the infinite in its entirety would mean that the being is God.

As there is only one God, it excludes any created being from beholding and grasping all that God is. Psalm 104 says of God, “Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.” Both His infinite nature in time and in space are indicated in those words. And again, in Daniel 2:22, it says that “light dwells with Him.” The Bible is consistent on this infinite nature of God.

Paul continues with, “whom no man has seen or can see.” There is abundant support in the Bible for this statement. God said to Moses that, “no man shall see Me, and live.” To fully peer into the infinite is impossible. If God were to fully reveal Himself to finite eyes, it would destroy them; overwhelming them with glory. John repeats this concept in his first epistle by saying that “No one has seen God at any time.”

This is the purpose of the Incarnation of Christ. God entered into His creation, uniting with it in a unique way in order for us to “see the Father” as He reveals Himself in Christ. Jesus stated this in John’s gospel. There He said, speaking of the Father, “…from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (14:7). He then said directly, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (v. 9). This does not mean that we have seen all of the Father, but the means by which the Father chooses to reveal Himself, which is through the Son. Jesus Christ is the bridge between the infinite God who cannot be seen, and the finite beings He has created. Thus, in eternity, we will never fully “see” God the Father. Rather, we will ceaselessly, endlessly, and eternally see Him as the Son reveals Him.

Paul then says of Him, “to whom be honor and everlasting power.” This is a description of God which is explained by Paul’s words to the Romans. There he said, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever” (Romans 11:36).

“For of Him” indicates that He, Jesus, is the Creator and the Source of everything. For “through Him” indicates that God is the Sustainer of all things. He is the unseen agency of our continued existence.” For “to Him” shows that He is the end-purpose and goal of all things. He is the final and ultimate reason for everything which was created. To more fully understand this, read the commentary on Romans 11:36.

The power in creation came from the Creator. The beauty of creation came from Him as well. All things honorable first came from Him. Those things continue to exist because of Him. And the glory which He has created finds its purpose for being glorious in Him. Thus, when Paul says “to whom be honor and everlasting power,” it is an indication that everything done by God is a reflection of who He is, and it is there as a demonstration of His infinite being, calling out to us to reflect on His glory which exceeds that which is created.

Paul then closes with “Amen.” It is a statement reflecting “truth” or “so be it.” He has made a point concerning the Creator which is truthful, and we are to consider what he has said as such.

Life application: One of the greatest errors in the minds of Christians is that we will someday fully see God the Father. As noted above, this is impossible. He is infinite, and we can never see all of what is infinite. However, Jesus has showed us that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. In other words, we have seen the exact representation of the Father, but not all of the Father. When we look to Jesus, we are seeing the Father revealed to us in a manner which we can comprehend without being destroyed. This will continue on for all eternity as the Son reveals the infinite Father to us.

Lord God, how simply astonishing it is to think of Your glory. We peer into the heavens, even for countless light years, and we see wonder beyond comprehension. We can look into the atom and continue finding smaller and smaller workings which go beyond our ability to see. Everything works as it should, even though we can never perceive it all. And yet, it was created by You. If this is so, then You are greater than all we see, and all we have yet to see. How glorious You truly are. May we stand in awe of Your holiness, and never assume that life is out of control. You have created, and You sustain. Why should we fret with such magnificent power tending to us. All glory and honor belong to You! Amen.

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